The main event was anti-climatic to say the least – but there were significant positive aspects, let’s look at these in more detail:
Scott Quigg v Hidenori Ohtake
Ohtake was as hard as coffin nail and Quigg did find it difficult to break him down. The stoppage never looked likely. Ohtake was beginning to bleed heavily towards the end of the contest – his corner had no intention of dragging him out.
30 fights in and we still don’t know how good Scott Quigg really can be. For me he is still in the shadow of IBF Carl Frampton as the breakout fight eludes him. The Frampton fight financially is enormous and one that already has huge demand to take place.
If politics prevent Frampton v Quigg or Quigg v Leo Santa Cruz from happening it does diminish the options available to him. The man no one speaks of Guillermo Rigondeaux is now under consideration from Quigg’s camp.
El Chacal isn’t a boxer but an artist and watching him needs to be appreciated on mute with opera music playing as you sip a fine red wine.
Rigondeaux as we know is on another planet to any other Super Bantamweight’s – so does Quigg consider moving up 4 lbs to Featherweight?
It could well be an inspired move as there are plenty of huge fights there which should be straight forward to make. Names such as Abner Mares, Evgeny Gradovich, Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters – and closer to home Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
James DeGale v Marco Antonio Periban
DeGale stole the show for me – best performance of the night. Discard the fact that Periban was a few lbs overweight the stoppage was not expected.
The left-hook is becoming a potent weapon for chunky and he has wiped out two top ten Super-Middle’s in succession.
Froch is all but signed to face Chavez Jr early 2015 so it DeGale will be fighting for the vacant IBF title. The Cobra has until 31st December to either start negotiations with DeGale or vacate. The likelihood he will face 6ft 2in fellow Southpaw Gilberto Ramirez (30-0: 24KO’s) for the belt.
With an altercation taking place at the weigh-in between Groves’ wife and DeGale’s mother – a rematch between the two after their respective world title shots is necessary. I’d back DeGale to prevail this time.
George Groves v Denis Douglin
Similar to the Rebrasse performance last month I felt Groves looked poor yet again. The major difference on this occasion was Saint GG managed to stop his man. Carl Froch spoke in the commentary that he felt Groves has been “Cobra’d” like Lucien Bute and is a shadow of his former self.
Froch did have a point to an extent as Groves does look a yard or two off pace. Trainer Paddy Fitzpatrick feels that the 26 yr is suffering from exhaustion after a hectic 12 months with four fights – two of them being PPV fights with Froch with gruelling media schedules.
It remains to be seen whether the former or latter is true with Groves. Next up will be Undefeated WBC Champion Anthony Dirrell (27-0: 22KO’s) and if he is tired or genuinely shot he will be exposed in brutal fashion.
Callum Smith v Nikola Sjekloca
Callum Smith would have learnt more on Saturday than he has in any of his previous fights – having gone 12 rounds for the first time in his career. There were stages when I was on the edge of my seat when those body shots landed and I thought the Montenegrin could cave. Credit to him he didn’t and kept coming forward.
I’m a huge fan of Smith, I do believe has all the attributes to go all the way. The only slight chink I can see in his armour is his lack of head movement and at times he can appear a tad rigid. I’d like to see more lateral movement – but for a guy 6ft 3in I appreciate that is difficult.
Next up will be a final eliminator for the WBC title in Spring with the caveat of facing the winner of George Groves and Anthony Dirrell.
Anthony Joshua v Michael Sprott
Veteran Sprott was blown away in the 1st round by Joshua to cap a busy 2014 for the 25 yr old. Next up is Kevin “King Pin” Johnson on 31st January.
After that I genuinely believe he is ready for Chisora or Price in the summer – perhaps Tyson Fury late 2015. I like the pace Joshua has been progressed up until now and I firmly believe 2016 will be the year to go for a world title.
Amateur rival Dillian Whyte returning from his two-year ban for consuming a banned substance found in a pre-workout drink. Whyte beat Joshua in 2009 as an amateur and has spoke about wanting the opportunity to fight again after he has eradicated any ring rust. That could be a tantalising match as there is apparently no love lost between the pair.
Joshua is boxing’s answer to The Thing from the Fantastic Four – displays mutant power. My concern is referee’s need to be conscious of his power as he could hospitalise someone, when he lands a combo flush it makes me wince. You can’t delay intervening when a 235lb specimen is unloading – you don’t play boxing as they say.
Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew
The main event didn’t match the hype or build up. It did descend in to a damp squib. Cleverly appeared to injury his hand in the 2nd and proceeded to jab Bellew for the remainder of the fight. Both men were blowing around the 10th and there is an argument that the build-up drained them.
I think there is an element of that but the Welshman for me isn’t a Cruiserweight and should consider moving back down to Light Heavyweight. He looked strong and athletic at the weight but with it deriving mainly from muscle – the extra oxygen required to sustain it clearly fatigued him.
Bellew was the deserved winner by a long shot as despite being shattered he was actually trading. A world title shot against Marco Huck is next up in 2015 and you can’t argue that the Liverpudlian doesn’t deserve it.
Cleverly yet again has much soul-searching to do.
Does he need to change trainers? Does he even want to continue boxing?
In hindsight privately he must acknowledge that he should have stuck it out with Adam Booth in London rather than choosing to train back home.
I’d like to see Cleverly go back to Light Heavy as he does have the ability to become a contender again. It is very much watch this space with him.
In conclusion the card as whole didn’t live up to expectations – but I look at it like I do when I try out a new curry house.
Sometimes you have a great meal; other times it doesn’t taste as good and you opt to give it miss next time.
This wasn’t a great takeaway but it won’t deter me from trying the next one.